Athena (NES) Retro Review

Athena is a 1987 platformer for the NES developed and published by SNK. The basic plot is that the princess of the Kingdom of Victory was bored and opened a door in the castle basement that leads to Fantasy World (literally called “Door Which Shouldn’t Be Opened”) which is currently taken over by evil emperor Dante. She also happens to lose her dress (as you can tell by the arcade flyer of her in her bra and knickers…).

The title screen was quite simplistic with a decent looking logo and sprite of athena although there was no music, It was also strange that the continue option was there already but its essentially just a 2nd new game option until you’ve actually played it.

Getting into the game i noticed the graphics were passable and the music was ok, Athena was never going to look anything like the poster because of sprite limitations although she did seem quite different. Controls were easy to work out with the common A=Jump and B=Attack as well as a high jump by pressing up at the same time as A, the weirdest things were the animations. For example when you get a club it looks as if you’re swinging it like a golf club and not like an actual weapon. You could actually pick up not only weapons but you’d also find yourself with a suit of armor and a shield very quickly too although they get removed if you’re hit like you’d expect. It also got annoying when you replaced a really good weapon like the ball and chain with something worse (whats interesting to note is I got it after picking up a ring, marriage joke perhaps?). There were some really annoying things though, especially a huge problem where getting hit by an enemy was instant death because they’d hit you multiple times within a single second and even gain the ability to walk backwards just to murder you faster.

What seems to be a fair amount of time isn’t at all and as you saw in the above screenshot i barely had any time left when i got to the boss. However to my surprise time stops during boss battles and the end of the level is almost right next to them. As for the boss i fought, it seemed annoying as it showed no hints of damage at all before its death and i also found a way to ignore its projectiles and not get hurt despite seemingly getting hit by them. Because of this and the other problems i couldn’t help but get bored of the game quickly, its not bad but does need some polishing.

Overall its an ok game but not something I’d recommend. The fact the armor and weapons have onscreen grades does make me interested in making a GodMode video one day if i ever get a PC again.


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